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Shirokiya to build $35M Japanese food village at Ala Moana Center

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Shirokiya Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it is building a $35 million Japanese food village that will be the major attraction on the ground floor of the new expanded Ewa Wing at Ala Moana Center. 

The 55,241-square-foot project, scheduled to open on June 1, will be modeled after a traditional Japanese town reminiscent of "old Kyoto" with about 60 shops. 

"Our mission is to introduce various Japanese food selections, Japanese traditional culture and the spirit of Japanese hospitality from Hawaii to the world." 

Shirokiya’s "Japan Village Walk" will consist of four main themes: 

» Food court and beer garden (yataimura) with 800 seats and a variety of Japanese food, including bento and okazu such as takoyaki, yakitori, ramen, soba, sukiyaki and sushi, as well as five beer counters. The area will resemble the popular Japanese food courts located in the basements of Japan’s major department stores. 

» Shopping alleys (nippon komachi) designed to replicate the alleys of old Kyoto with traditional Japanese crafts and artisans. 

» Festival and event square (omatsuri hiroba) with games and treats such as goldfish scooping, water balloon fishing, cotton candy and Japanese candy sculpture. 

» Guardian spirit sanctuary with statues depicting each of the 12 animals of the Japanese zodiac. 

Ala Moana is opening its roughly $570 million expansion project at the Ewa end of the mall Nov. 12. 

The project, which is expanding the former Sears space to 650,000 square feet on three levels, will include the first Bloomingdale’s in Hawaii and other large retailers and restaurants, as well as 200,000 square feet for smaller tenants. About 40 of 60 new tenants will be open in November. 

"What we’re doing here is almost building a new regional mall adjacent to the existing mall," said Francisco Gutierrez, Ala Moana’s senior director of development. "That’s a very large project. That’s bigger than Windward Mall, basically." Windward Mall is 515,000 square feet. 

Nordstrom, at a cost of $85 million, will relocate to a new 185,000-square-foot space in the Ewa wing in March, while Foodland Super Market Ltd. — one of the center’s original tenants — is returning to Hawaii’s largest shopping mall with the opening of Foodland Farms in July. 

Additionally, 25 retailers, including the state’s first Zara, Magnolia Bakery and Ted Baker London, have announced they will be opening in the new wing, which will include two courtyards, water features and a stage for performances. 

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